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AR XA

american simplicity

Re: AR XA

Postby Stevie342000 » 01 Jan 2018 20:18

That follows on from the advice I have been given already except I was advised to remove the feet as well and make sure that the base it is sat on is solid.

The Grados are not readily available in the UK, no problem getting them shipped over to the UK but the import duties makes it not really an option here. It appears from my recent visit to the local Hifi Store that the options to look at aside from the Denon DL103 (which I have already), is an AT520 or a Hana moving coil which has a relatively high compliance (google it) I think it is about 20.

The Stantons are not an option now that new styli are not available, I was advised against the Shure as well, in fact most of the US cartridges are not well received here many are old designs and there is nothing much new. Ah yes your right they tend not to be well received here....two nations separated by an ocean.

Still waiting for the parts to be shipped so I can give the deck an overhaul which should bring it back up to spec.

Still getting surprises by what this deck can do, it seems to do what it is designed to do and leave you listening to the music.
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Re: AR XA

Postby derspankster » 02 Jan 2018 01:01

I think you'll be satisfied when you get your deck working as it should. I bought my first ARXA on 1969 and still have it and use it. Best of luck to you.

der
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Re: AR XA

Postby Stevie342000 » 02 Jan 2018 13:27

derspankster wrote:I think you'll be satisfied when you get your deck working as it should. I bought my first ARXA on 1969 and still have it and use it. Best of luck to you.

der


I am satisfied as it stands now but I do know that I will be more so once it has had an overhaul.

The first of the parts I ordered have just arrived - I now have the ball bearings for the arm shaft - the 99.99% IPA is on its way, as are the feet which I am no longer going to be using.

That overhaul should be completed in the next week or so but there is still the burning issue of the new cartridge and for now I am going to fit the Denon DL103 and take it from there. I figure that I am going to be more than happy with that as an option.

The Stanton is an issue because I have no idea how worn it is and or how old it is, plus there are no replacement styli for it not of original manufacture at least.

Well I will get off now and see how it copes with a Decca UK recording circa 1959 recording of Madame Butterfly - Tebaldi...in glorious mono......
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Re: AR XA

Postby Stevie342000 » 06 Jan 2018 13:20

The parts I bought to give this an overhaul all arrived over the last few days.

Yesterday I bit the bullet having put some talc in little bag which had the new belt in it and fitted the new belt.

The only other work I did was to clean the pulley and the platters with the IPA. It was not very contaminated.

Did the new belt make a difference in short yes.

I have still to clean out the bearing shafts and to replace the ball bearing in the arm well.

The only other thing I did was to drop a few drops of oil in to the bearing well. Theory being that it might Help to loosen up any debris. I will leave it to soak for another day and then I will clean out the bearing wells.

I did have a dab into the main platter bearing well and it did come out dirty but not too dirty.
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Re: AR XA

Postby cre009 » 06 Jan 2018 13:37

Where did you get the belt from?

I am still not sure if there is a Euro source that does the correct fit. I have not tried Thakker yet.
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Re: AR XA

Postby noisefreq » 06 Jan 2018 17:10

Have you removed the thrust plates from the bearing wells?
Choose the side with the least dimple and drop that in, side up.
I used charcoal lighter fluid to clean out the wells before replacing the discs. Worked great.
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Re: AR XA

Postby Stevie342000 » 06 Jan 2018 22:38

cre009 wrote:Where did you get the belt from?

I am still not sure if there is a Euro source that does the correct fit. I have not tried Thakker yet.


I got it from Thats Audio on eBay, not sure if it is the right size did not compare it to the original it looked fine and it fits fine about the same as the old belt a bit tighter but not much.

It was in the drop down list as a stop gap I thought it might do.
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Re: AR XA

Postby Stevie342000 » 06 Jan 2018 22:39

noisefreq wrote:Have you removed the thrust plates from the bearing wells?
Choose the side with the least dimple and drop that in, side up.
I used charcoal lighter fluid to clean out the wells before replacing the discs. Worked great.



No that is my next job to do give the bearings a good clean, not rushing anything right now just trying to get used to how the deck performs and to its sound over time.

After that I will fit the Denon DL103 so in no real hurry.
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Re: AR XA

Postby Stevie342000 » 13 Jan 2018 15:35

Well I bit the bullet and after some fiddling about (more of which later), I cleaned the main bearing out, the Delrin in there is whole I left it in place. I used the torch on my phone to shine down the bearing before and after cleaning.

I gave it a couple of drops of oil, but I wish I had left the arm well alone.

It appears that the little black bit at the top is still in place, this forms part of the original lowering device.

Of course yes it decided to come into use and the arm would not lower, I think I have figured out how to do it now but I have a lowering device.

How and should you remove the little black bit at the top of the arm stem? I assume once it is done it should perform better?

Oh yes word of warning with that and the bearing, I put in a new one but it dropped into the arm bearing and was not in the centre which I thought was the initial problem. Could I find my set of non-magnetic tweezers? So I resorted after a bit of thought to chewing some gum and then stuck on the end of the q-tip to retrieve the ball bearing. Out it came, then I put back the original only to then drop that on the floor somewhere and I thought it had rolled underneath the turntable, nope.

So I put a new one in and ran into the arm lowering device problem again. It seems to be working OK and it is not sticking.

It's been a week since I listened to any music so the system is a bit cold but it seems to be improving.

Ah yes the other arm is an oddity as someone else pointed out, it appears upon inspection that some one has made up the rectangular pivot block and arm pedestal, as the only fit each other. I had thought it might fit the other arm which is on the deck now but it does not, I tried. Screw thread and mount is all wrong, shaft is longer as well, not sure what that will do to VTA but my assumption is that if it is longer it will sit higher.
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Re: AR XA

Postby cre009 » 13 Jan 2018 15:54

If the shaft of the spare arm is too long then that suggests it was for an XB as Steve originally suggested. The rectangular pivot block was used on XBs but apparently also appeared on some late XAs. The brass pulley in the arm pivot is however the common arrangement for virtually all XAs.

I don't know that removing the decayed sponge at the top of the wells will improve performance but it does alleviate the risk of detritus contaminating the wells.

If you remove the belt what is the spin down time of the platter if you start it moving by hand? The delrin washer at the base of the platter well can develop an irregularity that effectively slows the platter. It should revolve from a hand start for a few minutes if the delrin is flat. It will stop in less than a minute if in poor condition.
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Re: AR XA

Postby Stevie342000 » 14 Jan 2018 11:03

Would I be right to assume that the shaft and bearing block from the XB will not fit on the XA, as the bearing shaft is too short?

The spin down was fine, it went for what I felt was at least a minute, it took a long time for the speed to drop and for it to fully stop. My conclusion was that there was little friction and the delrin was as it should be.

I am not sure that after the cleaning and re-lubrication that the arm is performing as it did before. It was probably the discs I played they were worn, so will go back and check the set up with a disc that I am familiar with and report back.

I have sent an email to the usual suspect and it would appear that sending it off for a new set of bearings, and a complete overhaul may be in order.
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Re: AR XA

Postby cre009 » 14 Jan 2018 12:00

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Re: AR XA

Postby Stevie342000 » 16 Jan 2018 14:54

After a couple of days laying off playing vinyl my thoughts were that there was liable to be a vacuum in the arm bearing shaft and that it needed time for it to settle back down in the bearing arm well.

I have resorted to playing the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy again to see if the issues I thought were present were the arm or the vinyl.

It turns out it was the vinyl I was playing after I had cleaned the bearings and re-lubricated it all. I had noticed it as an issue before that if I had played vinyl that was worn or dirty it did not appear to function too well. It is probably more likely to do with the stylus profile and where it was in the groove in relation to that wear. Plus the stylus is of an unknown vintage and past its best.

My conclusions so far is that giving it a clean has made a difference and not in a bad way either.

The only thing I will do now is continue to listen to the deck and fit the Denon DL103, refill the the Colton Vari-lift with silicone fluid and to have the arm bearings overhauled along with a rewire.

I have continued to read the threads on here and have got to about page 15 and have found another thread that is useful, as there are new head shells available on eBay for a very reasonable price. There were issues with the screws being magnetic and the cartridge wires were a bit flimsy, I assume these have been addressed it might be worth asking the questions before ordering.

But it is nice to know that we can get replacements, one of the reasons I went for this deck in the first place. The design is basic and based on sound engineering principles - what the deck does it does well, it does what it was designed for it plays music and it appears to add nothing to the outcome which again was what it was designed to do.

What I am noticing since cleaning is the level of detail is improved and what I am missing is the rumble after years of listening to idler drive decks. I have had belt drives in the past and none were as quiet as this one is in the rumble stakes. Vinyl roar is less of an issue and is often mistaken for rumble.

A few days back I was thinking I had made a mistake and wasted my money when it presented issues after cleaning but I did the right thing and left it for a few days to settle down. Wishing I had left well alone.

Of course now it has presented other cost issues in that I need to purchase a record cleaning machine so I can play those discs which presented issues.

I now know it was not a mistake and it seems to be performing better than it did before having just listened to a Japanese reissue pressing of It's in his kiss by Betty Everett in Glorious Vee-Jay Stereo. This deck has pace rhythm and timing I had not heard before in such detail and it can punch out bass as the title track proved. Attack and decay are better than I have heard before.

Yes I am very happy with what it does.

The cartridge has to go though, Stanton or I should say Gibson Group were no use whatsoever when I contacted them. My original message to Gibson got transferred to the UK for Focusrite then to send it back to the US for an answer which was the one we already now, the cartridge is discontinued and they recommended one of the new series it took days for them to reach that conclusion, in what way is any of that customer care or attention ? They will not be retaining me as a customer based on that service level.

Well that's all for now, my intention here is to bring together all the known issues or as many as I face and over time to bring them together in this thread, at current count there are 45 pages of posts and it takes an age to go through them. Others have posted links to other threads and sites long may that continue, as it makes all our lives easier when despite how much we like this deck we are dragged away from listening to it to answer the same questions.

Thanks all for all the Help, tips and pointers - there were not so many issues with this deck - a google search or a search on here will answer questions to specific issues with motors and outboard motor driver units - as so far I have not had the base of this one but that is for another day. I may resort to replacing the capacitors in the motor board but more of that another time.
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Re: AR XA

Postby petemcfc1 » 16 Jan 2018 16:21

I have one of those Patsaudio black replacement head shells,the azimuth was slightly off,using a scalpel I removed a slight shaving off the nub to get it right,also none of the provided screws were long enough to secure a Shure V15,I couldnt source any so I drilled out the inserts,apart from that all is ok.
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Re: AR XA

Postby Stevie342000 » 22 Feb 2018 14:36

Well it has been over 1 month since I posted anything. There has been some if not much progress in the sound that this turntable produces.

It in my opinion does perform well beyond its vintage and price class. I like what it does a lot and it is in my opinion again money well spent.

But I was lucky with the machine I got it is in good condition, it functioned well from the start even though it had not been in use for over 20 years.

The suspension is fine the arm lift engaging and snagging has become a bit of an issue since I cleaned the bearing well out. It appears from memory that it did not function when I got it but now it occasionally engages. To get around this I lower the lift short of the record and lift the arm gently and lower it to ensure the stylus is below the platter and the arm lift has disengaged.

Then I use the arm lift to raise and lower the stylus on to the disc.

Over the last month I had not listened to much music just the odd day and I became dissatisfied with the sound it was all boxed in and no real dynamics. I thought it was the room and where the speakers were placed.

But it appears not, as I made some modifications to the system a couple of days back and now it performs extremely well.

The change I made was that I am now using my Project Phono Box II USB and running into an auxiliary input. It has made one huge difference and it is now working just fine.

I have the Denon DL103 ready to go in but have decided to live with it as it is for the next month. I may swap into one of the other headshells a Goldring G800 with NOS original stylus just for fun. As I have the head shells I can swap the cartridge when I want that way.

Currently listening to a UK Columbia (EMI) Classical Lp from I figure the mid-1950s in glorious mono and it sounds very good. This disc could do with a clean but the odd crackle or pop is not really noticeable.

This is what I like it about this turntable the low rumble and the way it deals with surface noise. I am more than happy with and could not envisage selling it not without spending a considerable amount of money to do so.

The Solti Wagner Ring Cycle on UK Decca has been a very enjoyable experience, two disc box sets to go and I will have listened to all 25 plus hours. Onwards and upwards then to the next box set.
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